According to a survey that included 239 patients preparing for surgery, more than half displayed signs of pre-surgery anxiety. Also, only 125 of the total participants knew about the type of surgery they were undergoing.
Pre-treatment anxiety is pretty normal; most people report feeling jittery and anxious. Even if the treatment you are about to experience is expected to save your life and restore your health, you can still feel uncomfortable thinking about the procedure.
Luckily, you can do things to overcome your fear and make your treatment a far less terrifying and overwhelming experience than it seems to be. Do you want to know about things that can help you cope with the pre-treatment fear? Read on to find out.
1. Get awareness about your treatment
The first thing you can do is to know more about your treatment, its success rate, and if you have any other options. It will help you realize that the treatment is essential for your health. Also, always concentrate on why you are getting the treatment. This way, you will focus more on how this treatment will improve your life and possibly save you from the sickness you are going through.
If you have a complicated illness such as mesothelioma, ask your doctor about its survival rate and impact. For instance, mesothelioma survival rates are based on the type and how early you get the treatment. The more knowledgeable you are, the more relaxed you will feel about getting treatments.
2. Follow the pre-treatment guidelines
Sometimes, fighting pre-treatment anxiety is as simple as occupying yourself with some other thoughts. For instance, instead of focusing on how your treatment will be, you can plan what you need for your stay in the hospital or what you need to do in the house before you leave for the hospital.
You can also make a to-do list and ensure you don’t forget any details. This way, you will be so occupied with getting things done that the treatment-related anxiety will automatically take a backseat.
Your to-do list can include doing small things such as:
- Preparing a hospital bag that has all the essential stuff you need during your hospital stay
- Booking a ride that will take you to and from the hospital
- Arranging for someone who can help you with day-to-day chores once you are home
3. Consult a counselor or a therapist
Some people think that pre-treatment anxiety is not a solid reason to undergo therapy. But, to understand the need for pre-treatment anxiety therapy, you must understand how anxiety impacts you.
Anxiety is a powerful feeling. One of its jobs is to guard you against danger. It prepares your body so that you can escape from a dangerous situation. This is why your heart rate and blood pressure surge when you feel anxious. When you are about to undergo medical treatment, the anxiety can increase so much that it can bar you from taking the treatment, however crucial it is for your health.
Counseling at this point is essential; it can help you manage stress instead of canceling or postponing the treatment.
4. Engage in mindful meditation
Meditation is another way to shed the fear and anxiety of starting your treatment or getting surgery. It involves deep breathing and clearing your mind of fearing what will happen. Mindful meditation helps you focus on the present and prevents you from thinking about the treatment. This way, it focuses on healing, calming your nerves, and reducing your fears to such a level that they can no longer overpower you.
5. Prepare your body for the treatment
Before undergoing a medical procedure, invest some time preparing your body for the treatment. The healthier your body is, the more confident you can be about overcoming the treatment’s impact. Talk to your doctor about things you can do to prepare your body. Your doctor may recommend you to do the following things:
- Eat a healthy diet that helps strengthens your body
- Take vitamins and supplements approved by your doctor
- Take plenty of rest
- Keep yourself hydrated
- Engage in physical activity to the extent it is helpful with your treatment
All these measures mentioned above not only prepare your body for the treatment but also help your body fight stress. In addition, some foods such as omega-rich vegetables and fruits such as mangoes, berries, avocado, leafy green vegetables, etc., have stress-relieving properties.
6. Spend time with pets
Spending time with pets is another stress-busting activity. So before surgery, spend some time with your furry friends, pet them, talk to them, and allow them to calm you down.
Pets are an exceptional companion in your life, and times when you are stressed and worried, are no different. Also, they can feel your fear, and when they do, they work double to cheer you up and provide reassurances.
Studies prove that playing with pets reduces stress. And the social interaction between people and dogs increases the level of oxytocin—a feel-good hormone.
7. Listen to music or play a book
Many people feel energetic when they listen to music; others find it relaxing. If you are one of those types, play your favorite music to relieve the pre-treatment stress. Focusing on the lyrics or tune of the music can divert your mind from the thoughts of the treatment, making you feel relaxed.
If listening to music does not suit your mood or personality, you can also read or listen to a book. There are countless books available in audio form. And there is no better distraction than getting lost in a book.
If you are about to go under the knife or are starting a life-changing treatment, it is no surprise that you feel fear and some reluctance. However, you shouldn’t let this fear take over your rational thoughts regarding why the treatment is crucial for you. Therefore, you have to find ways to cope with your pre-treatment stress. The above article mentions some ways to relieve pre-treatment stress; follow the ones you think will work for you!